[FoRK] The Parable of Joe and the Looters
jbone at place.org
Sun Jul 6 11:11:48 PDT 2008
On Jul 6, 2008, at 1:36 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> Sometimes California, with a GDP of about 1.7 Trillion (in 2006), is
> behind in a given year? Boo hoo...
BTW, I'm not sure there's any reasonable conclusion to be drawn from
comparing these two numbers. The fact that they're both expressed in
the same units of measure doesn't really mean much. In this case you
might as well compare the budget deficit to any quantity of
sufficiently large magnitude, such as the number of stars in the galaxy.
A better thing to consider, given the tax structure of California, is
the personal burden-per-taxpayer of a single, annual budget deficit of
about that size: about $400, every year the deficit is that big. Not
too bad, perhaps... except when you consider that the only thing that
can reduce that is unpredictable economic growth or tax hikes. Given
that you can't control the budget in your state, any deficit is cause
The pertinent point here is this: the state of California runs a
deficit paying for things that in large part the people of the state
of California vote in through ballot initiative. If it does this
consistently, or has no reliable means of scaling back on various
spending initiatives, it therefore can't really reasonably be expected
to maintain those programs while taking over for the federal
government on areas of unsustainable spending that the federal
government will ultimately be forced to scale back.
By comparison, the State of Texas (just as an example, I'm not
particularly fond of Texas for several reasons, that's why I choose to
reside in the People's Republic of Austin for the time being ;-) for
2009 is not projected to run a deficit. We have run deficits in some
years, including some that are larger per-resident than the California
example under consideration. (In 2003, for example, we were "second
worst" in terms of overall size of deficit: behind California, just
ahead of New York.)
But we don't have the kind of effectively-mandatory spending that you
get with the California system.
PS - even accepting Stephen's $1.7T number, the individual
contribution to annual product only goes to $46575, still (barely)
below Texas at $46809.
PPS - you might be surprised that those figures are that low. For
extra credit --- what do you think those numbers *mean?*
More information about the FoRK